Skyline Chili

Bowl of plain, cheese coneys at Skyline Chili

Bowl of plain, cheese coneys at Skyline Chili

What is there to say about Skyline?  There’s one on every corner, their TV ads are inescapable, and the name is pretty much synonymous with chili in Cincinnati.  The only issue for us was choosing one Skyline to visit for the purposes of our little survey here.  Ultimately we settled on the Skyline near the corner of Beechmont of Salem which claims to be the oldest Skyline in its original location.  Since the original Skyline location has been bulldozed and rebuilt across the street we’ll settle for this one.  Located in a small 60’s-style strip mall just outside Mt. Washington in Anderson Twp. this Skyline location features a large rectangular lunch counter along with a large assortment of booths and tables.  We’d all been to Skyline before, and let’s face it — if you’re reading this, so have you!  Nevertheless we were intrigued to see if our experiences at now over 30 different chili parlors has changed the way we see the old standby.  Read on to see if it did:

Overall Rating: ★★★★★★★½☆☆


Individual Ratings:

Aaron: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

Whenever you are feeling good and hungry it’s Skyline time.  It’s almost been a year of chili tour mayhem and we finally stopped into the face of Cincinnati Chili.  Most of us on this tour probably eat more skyline than other Cincinnati chili due to sheer number of Skyline Chili parlors available in every community.  Skyline has achieved what all of the other mom and pop chains couldn’t.  How did they build a franchise model and grab the hearts and minds of Cincinnati patrons?  Plain vanilla figuratively speaking.  Skyline has built a chili business with, until recently a very limited menu compared to Price Hill Chili or Gourmet Chili or any of the other single location chili parlors in town.  Skyline focused on a chili parlor business without all of the breakfast and double decker menu items found elsewhere.  The chili is prepared for the masses – not too spicy, but sweet enough that Grandma or the Grandkids will enjoy it.

While Goldstar and Skyline certainly have leadership in market share, our chili tour doesn’t value a plain vanilla experience.  We’ve enjoyed meeting many of the business owners who didn’t know we were on a quest to find Cincinnati’s best chili.

My Skyline experience today was a 6 of 10 for my bowl of plain chili and garlic toast.  It is expensive than almost every chili parlor we’ve visited and not quite as flavorful as some of our tour darlings.  Skyline is great in a pinch and there is something to be said for delivering that consistency and same brand experience across the city.  Many might have expected Skyline to be higher on my list.  Alas, taste buds don’t lie.  Certainly try Skyline if you haven’t.  Just don’t miss out on some of the lesser known greasy spoons in town that serve up Cincinnati style chili!

Adam: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

The food was textbook quality for skyline, which I happen to enjoy.  Nothing surprising to report.

Andrew: ★★★★★★★★★☆

I’m a Skyline guy.  I eat at this Skyline — it’s the closest to home and as a Skyline connoisseur I’ll submit that quality-wise it’s the best in town.  But I’ve been abstaining.  No Skyline since the beginning of this chili adventure.  So I came into Skyline today as close to a blank slate as I could possibly be.  And I still loved it.  Yes, Skyline is easily the wateriest chili in town.  A bowl of chili needs a healthy handful of oyster crackers to thicken up to a more acceptable texture.  But that’s ok by me because Skyline also has the best oyster crackers in town.  I love that Skyline’s chili is boldly flavored with enough heat to require a swig of coke every few bites to cool things down a bit.  I love the fluffy orange cloud of mild cheddar they pile atop the coneys.  I even love the flavor of the weird, tiny little hot dogs they steam up for the coneys.  And yet…I can honestly say now it’s not the best there is to be had.  It’s still near the top of the list for me, and I’ll still be a regular visitor, but places like Gourmet Chili, Pleasant Ridge Chili, and Price Hill Chili all rank even or a bit higher for me.

Andy: ★★★★★★★★½☆

Skyline….it’s in the blood stream.  Bridgetown Skyline circa early 1990s would have earned a 10.0 with their sleeper 3-ways!  It’s almost always good

Ben: [Rating TBA]

Nathan: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

Skyline is a solid 8 for me.  It was my home turf Skyline in Anderson Twp too, so I’m sure that skews it in their favor.  It is always consistently tasty, and today was no exception.  There is something about having servers bring you crackers as your sitting down, for whatever reason skyline really gets why people come to their restaurants.  Quantity, Quality and Affordable lunch.  See you next Tuesday night!

Stephanie: ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

I don’t feel I can accurately review Skyline’s Chili since there was hardly any on my cheese coneys.  Due to the lack of chili they are get a 5 from me…..their cheese fries saved them from a 3.

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